Man, I am so grateful for this weekend and the prayer vigil. Thank you all for participating and supporting this truly special time. Seriously, I am grateful. It struck me throughout the weekend how tremendously significant and essential it is for us to take time like this and seek the Lord as a people. Jill did an amazing job in creating a space that draws the soul into prayer.
Both times when my scheduled slot in the room ended, I was disappointed and not ready to leave. This has not necessarily been my experience in prayer lately, and I am so so grateful for the beautiful and powerful grace of Jesus towards me. I will say — and I do not understand this or really know if it’s true — but it seems to me that He does tend to extend this grace for prayer in special places that are dedicated for that purpose. The very atmosphere seems to draw my heart and soul upward. Like I said, I’m not sure about all that, but I do know that my prayer times this weekend were refreshing and energizing.
I’m so grateful for the Merchant. It’s been at least a decade that I’ve been asking God for a prayer space in or near downtown for the boiler room — one that we could use for special seasons of prayer, but also for all the in-between times (yes, I realize that was before there actually was a boiler room). This weekend my mind wandered back to many times of walking around downtown, asking the Father for such a place. I also thought about the history we as the boiler room have had with prayer rooms. When we started eight years ago, we had a dedicated prayer space in the Harvest Market. Remember that?
Then we moved on, and wandered from place to place. I remember Karissa early on saying something to the effect of (sorry if I get this wrong) God is causing us to be the prayer room - a mobile prayer room. That we as a people would host His presence and foster prayer wherever we are. It seemed this was a significant lesson for us to learn, and an essential piece of who God was (and is) calling us to be. As this became a reality, we’ve created many spaces for prayer — some more temporary than others. Remember the old Ida Red in Brookside? The CORE Center? Retreat weekends at Shepherds Fold. Of course the Jesus Inn. The BC prayer room. Our homes. Wasn’t there a dance studio at some point? Last Fall Jill created a prayer shed in our back yard and we had a week of prayer there.
I’m grateful for all of those places and the things the Lord taught us, and how He used those experiences to shape us and grow us. And I am so grateful for where He has us now. Family, this feels like an answer to some deep longings I’ve been carrying in my heart for a long time. A place of prayer that is also a place of hospitality and significant Gospel ministry to the poor and the marginalized. A place of creativity and discipleship and partnership and mercy and equipping and welcome and transformation and sending. I'm so glad to be walking this out with you.
I’m incredibly grateful for the open-handed and generous way Paul and Debbie have invited us into this space to partner with them. I’m grateful for their desire to extend this invitation to others in the city, and I’m ready to do whatever the Lord requires of us to facilitate this.
I can’t end this without mentioning my gratitude for you who participated in our time of prayer together as a church family Sunday morning. The testimonies that were shared towards the end brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. Thank you for your vulnerability and faithfulness to give praise to the Father. We heard about people set free from addictions and depression and suicidal thoughts and severe anxiety. About the lonely welcomed into family and hearts of stone turned to clay. About the homeless being given homes and wandering souls received by the Father. God has done powerful things for us. These stories were not about distant people we barely know, but it was us and those we love the most. We are a people redeemed. A people whom God has set free, and is setting free. Praise be to Jesus!